Moscow suggests 2022 draft document as a basis for future Ukraine peace talks

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A draft Russia-Ukraine agreement negotiated in 2022 could serve as a starting point for prospective talks to end the fighting in Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Friday.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the draft document that was discussed in Istanbul in March 2022 could be “the basis for starting negotiations.” At the same time, he noted that the possible future talks would need to take into account the “new realities.”

“There have been many changes since then, new entities have been included in our constitution,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.

In September 2022, Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions in a move that Kyiv and its Western allies have rejected as an unlawful.

Peskov’s statement followed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments on Thursday, in which he mocked prospective Ukraine peace talks that Switzerland is set to host in June, warning that Moscow will not accept any enforced peace plans.

Switzerland’s government said it will host a high-level international conference in June to chart a path toward peace in Ukraine after more than two years of fighting. It also expressed hope that Russia might join in the peace process someday.

Putin on Thursday said Russia hadn’t been invited to join June’s talks, while pointing at Swiss recognition that a peace process can’t happen without Russia.

“They aren’t inviting us there,” Putin said. 

“Moreover, they think there is nothing for us to do there, but at the same time they say that’s it’s impossible to decide anything without us. It would have been funny if it weren’t so sad.” he said.

Russia has dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula calling for Moscow to withdraw troops, pay compensation to Ukraine and face an international tribunal for its action.

Speaking during Thursday’s meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow, Putin said that Russia is open to negotiating but will never accept “any schemes that have nothing to do with reality.”

Russia attacks power grid – again

It comes as a Russian strike knocked out a major power plant in Kyiv on Thursday, dealing a new blow to Ukraine’s already damaged civilian energy grid.

The attack knocked out the entire generative capacity of the Trypillia Thermal Power Plant in the city of Ukrainka in Kyiv Oblast, according to local authorities. 

It was one of a hail of overnight aerial strikes targeting critical infrastructure, part of a Russian strategy to put the Ukrainian economy and everyday life under intolerable strain.

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